May June 2005




Grinding, Recycling & Energizing

Possibly no sector of the timber business has changed more over the past quarter century than the chipping and grinding end of the trade. Once barely considered to be a part of the industry at all, chipping and grinding has become, in many sawmills, a primary breakdown Grinding, Recycling & Energizing Landfill reaches out and begins serving forest products customers technique as well as an important resource recovery technology. At the harvest site chipping, grinding, and mulching operations often coexist with log processing and loading efforts, as truck loads of logs exit the woods right behind residue destined for the cogeneration plant. Sometimes residue recovery is the difference between profit and loss.

Portablility is a big reason Larry Beeler chose the 3010 Tub Grinder. The machine can be towed from job to job easily and be set up quickly, yet still offer high capacity in a variety of applications.

Combing Businesses
Busy Bee Landfill of Spokane, Wash. illustrates how the lines between industries are beginning to blur. Busy Bee, an established business in the waste management sector, recently began to use DuraTech Industries grinding technology to not only survive challenges in its old industry but also to reach out and begin serving forest products customers with the grinding abilities needed to allow harvest in some areas near Spokane. In blending the waste and forest products industries, Busy Bee is following in the footsteps of hundreds of traditional forest industry participants who have expanded into the “waste” field in the pursuit of business. Busy Bee, according to its founder, Larry Beeler, was established in the early 1990s to provide a place for demolition contractors, construction firms, and others to dispose of inert waste produced in the natural course of their business. A combination of need and good business practices led to early, and continued, success for the firm.

Thinking Outside the Box
That success was threatened, “…three or four years ago,” when changes in environmental regulations by the State of Washington challenged the firm’s ability to survive. The changes, as Larry explains them, require firms previously accepting wood fiber into their construction and demolition debris landfills to meet, in the future, some of the same standards required of landfills accepting raw garbage. “To continue to dispose of wood I would have to make an incredibly large investment in my facility, one I’m not sure would ever pay off,” he says. That meant recycling was the only real option left if Larry wanted to continue to be successful. Recycling, however, presented its own challenges to Busy Bee. Construction and demolition waste, Larry points out, is often not recyclable in the ordinary sense of the word due to potential contamination of the wood recovered when buildings are demolished. The need to find some way to recycle fiber not recyclable in traditional terms led Larry to grinding. Backed into a corner by regulation, Larry saw a way out of his firm’s dilemma in the potential to recycle by incineration. Several cogeneration plants in the Spokane region burn wood fiber to create electricity. Larry had fiber to burn, but needed to process the fiber before it would be acceptable to the co-gen plants. “I had to achieve legitimacy as a recycler to stay in business,” he says.

The same DuraTech 3010 Tub Grinder Larry Beeler used to service his demolition debris business can be used to process the wood fiber resources produced from land clearing and logging operations down into value added materials.

Finding the Equipment
Larry’s first step out into his new firm’s future was to investigate the equipment marketplace. “The most important thing to me in choosing a machine was flexibility,” says Larry. “This was something entirely new to me but I knew enough to know I didn’t want to be stuck in the position of only being able to do one thing. I’ve seen guys get into tub grinders around here and then get into trouble because they couldn’t serve enough of the market. I needed something that would be very efficient grinding construction. But, I also knew if I wanted to continue to be successful, I’d have to expand beyond what I’m doing now. That meant I had to have a machine flexible enough to address the entire potential of the market.” A friend highly recommended that Larry take a look at DuraTech Industries when the time came to purchase equipment. DuraTech is a North Dakota-based manufacturer of shredding, grinding, and residue reduction machinery with a long history in both the waste and the forest products fields. Larry did look and, while impressed, decided to investigate the broad range of the equipment marketplace before finally deciding. “I did a lot of research and found no one with the range of equipment and capabilities DuraTech offered,” Larry declares. “They showed me how I could adapt the machine’s operation to serve my present customers, even those with asphalt shingles, as well as the new ‘green’ markets I wanted to look at expanding into.”

Versatility and Flexibility
Larry settled on a DuraTech 3010 Tub Grinder. The grinder’s 10-foot tub is large enough to accept nearly anything Larry wants to feed it while the heavy-duty hammermill assures complete processing of the sometimes very difficult materials a construction and demolition project produces for disposal. According to Larry, the 3010 Tub Grinder not only allows him to service his customer base, it has also, as he had hoped, potentially opened up a whole new business opportunity for his firm. Much of the region around Spokane is forested. As development, both urban and recreational, takes place, timber contractors harvest potential building sites but are left with a quandary. “The regional air pollution authority no longer allows burning of limbs, stumps, and other tree parts left after harvest,” Larry points out. “The material has to be disposed of before development takes place and that means my grinder comes into play. I believe there is a significant opportunity in that end of the business to provide for an important environmental benefit to the public, help out the loggers, and expand my own business.” The “daily grind” has truly become an important key to success in the timber industry.


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This page was last updated on Thursday, August 11, 2005